From the halls of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, inhabited by the spirit of countless diplomats and foreign affairs specialist of the last century, to the offices of the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C., my Fulbright Schuman experience was centered on the bond that ties the United States to Europe.
My Fulbright journey started in August 2019, as I was setting foot in the hot and humid environment of Miami, Florida to attend the Fulbright Gateway Orientation at Miami Dade College. Participating in the various workshops and meet-ups on topics ranging from leadership to time management and stress relief, I got confirmation that the American “can-do” spirit is not a myth, but a reality that allows the U.S. to strive and show resilience.
Soon after, I arrived in Boston, Massachusetts to attend the Fletcher School for one semester and quickly felt at home again. With the help of three amazing Somerville housemates, all affiliated to the nearby MIT, I quickly found my stride in the Boston area. Sadly, my first weekend in the area was marked by the passing away of my grandmother back home in France. Thanks to the support of my newfound community, I was able to succeed at Fletcher, while allowing myself to grieve my loss.
Passionate about foreign affairs, in particular transatlantic affairs, and by technology policy, I was glad to find that the Fletcher School offered courses that allowed me to better understand the intricacies of cyber policy questions. I was particularly struck by Professor Josephine Wolff, who was able to make complex technical cyber questions digestible and even fun in her course on cyber risk management. These courses also allowed me to see the differences and the overlap that exists on both sides of the Atlantic on technology policy issues. I was also impressed by the diversity of the Fletcher School, both in terms of countries of origin and career aspiration.
The Fall 2019 semester also provided me with the opportunity to discover U.S. traditions and to reconnect with my U.S.-based family. A tour of Salem, Massachusetts in the Halloween period satisfied my taste for anything spooky, and a Thanksgiving family reunion in Virginia with my aunt and uncle allowed me to discover this famous U.S. tradition and landmark of the year.
During the Spring Semester, I benefitted from the opportunity to complete a Pre-Degree Academic Training. I was fortunate to be accepted to work as an intern at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C., the oldest and of the most well-known think tanks in the United States. The Brookings Center for the United States and Europe gave me an unparalleled chance to work alongside top experts of transatlantic relations. They all left their mark on me through their high level of passion, and their desire to include me and to introduce me to the specificities of working in Washington D.C.
All in all, the Fulbright program equipped me with the confidence to take on life and its adventures. It served as a stepping stone to my next and current adventure: working on technology policy at Microsoft EU’s office. I now feel part of a lifelong long family of transatlantic builders, willing to nurture the transatlantic bond no matter the political developments affecting it.
Jerome Nicolai IS A 2019-2020 FULBRIGHT Student at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Mr. Nicolai is a French citizen, is a joint Master of Arts in Transatlantic Affairs candidate at the College of Europe and at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, where he will conduct his research project on transatlantic common interest-building in emerging biotechnologies. He is also an alumnus of Sciences Po Paris. He was a trainee at the Court of Justice of the European Union and will be a 2019 summer trainee at the OECD. He is passionate about emerging technologies, admires the entrepreneurial spirit of the American society, and is committed to the strengthening of the transatlantic community.
Articles are written by Fulbright grantees and do not reflect the opinions of the Fulbright Commission, the grantees’ host institutions, or the U.S. Department of State.